The inaugural Brisbane Global Tens has received a shot of credibility with international stars Israel Folau and Israel Dagg signing on as playing ambassadors.
Their commitment is an early sign the new pre-season tournament, set for February 11-12 next year at Suncorp Stadium, should have no trouble attracting some of rugby’s biggest names.
Wallaby Folau and All Black Dagg briefly set aside their fierce rivalry on Thursday to throw their weight behind the concept, which is backed by Duco Events, the creators of the NRL’s successful Auckland Nines.
All 10 Australian and New Zealand Super Rugby franchises – plus French glamour club Toulon, Japanese powerhouse Panasonic Wild Knights, South Africa’s Blue Bulls and the Samoan national team – are locked in for the two-day tournament.
“It’s a very exciting concept,” Folau said.
“I love watching the Nines and looking at that concept, I’ve always thought that rugby can do a similar thing.
“The amount of space that’s going to be out there on the field, that’s something that excites me personally.”
Organiser David Higgins said the Brisbane Global Tens is on track for a sellout, and believes more teams will be keen to take part in future once they see what it’s about, having already been approached by some interested “rugby folk” from Fiji.
Dagg, who plays for the Crusaders, is relishing a rare chance for southern hemisphere franchises to mix it with the likes of Toulon and the Wild Knights.
“We might not ever get an opportunity to play these guys again,” said Dagg, who has prior experience in the format having played in the old Hong Kong Tens.
“There’s going to be some stuff nobody expects – backwards kicks, or forwards doing some razzle-dazzle things.
“What a better way to get a tan than in Brisbane in February, playing some good footy and having fun with your mates.”